Secret X-Men #1 is written by Tini Howard, illustrated by Francesco Mobili, colored by Jesus Aburtov, and lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles. It’s published by Marvel Comics. After the Empress of the Shi’ar Empire Xandra goes missing, Sunspot assembles a team of X-Men to rescue her. Along with his best friend Cannonball. The roster consists of Banshee, Armor, Strong Guy, Tempo, Marrow, Boom Boom, and Forge. And this group of mutants shares one thing in common; they all narrowly lost the vote to join Krakoa’s team of X-Men.
Marvel held a fan vote to determine the last member of the X-Men’s current roster, with Polaris winning the final spot. The discourse following this vote was lengthy, but it also showed that some mutants are more popular than others. When you think of the X-Men, you think of folks like Wolverine or Cyclops or Nightcrawler. You don’t think of Boom Boom or Tempo or Strong Guy. Thus, the entire concept of this book: proving that this group of misfits has what it takes to play with the big boys.
Enter the creative team, specifically Howard. Howard’s no stranger to writing unorthodox superhero teams; her previous Marvel work includes Strikeforce which had Blade leading a covert team of heroes including Spider-Woman and the Winter Soldier, and the X-Men title Excalibur which had its own healthy mix of mutants. She has a great handle on team dynamics, especially between Sunspot and Cannonball. Both of them are longtime friends and teammates, serving in the New Mutants and even becoming full-fledged Avengers. It’s quite hilarious watching Sunspot try to bluff his way through everything and Cannonball rolling with it (rather reluctantly, I might add). Cowles peppers the fight scenes with sound effects including “Thooms” when Strong Guy hits the Sidri and “Booms” when Sunspot uses his solar flare powers. He also designs a word puzzle for readers to solve; the answer is quite hilarious.
Mobili illustrates some intense space battles, including the Secret X-Men being ambushed by the alien bounty hunters known as the Sidri. The Sidri are a swarm of winged insectoid monstrosities and grouped together, they form an unending wall of darkness that the Secret X-Men have to fight their way out of, resulting in a heck of a splash page that proves the X-Men work really well in space. Other environments, including a snow-covered planet and the Shi’ar home planet of Chandilar, are rendered in equally stunning detail thanks to Aburtov’s colors.
But the coolest image in the issue features the Secret X-Men donning their new uniforms. Said uniforms are rendered in gold and black by Aburtov, as a homage to Sunspot and Cannonball’s New Mutants uniforms, with the new X-Men logo adding a modern touch. Howard, Aburtov, and Mobili also take the chance to get creative with the team’s powers, including Marrow utilizing her abilities to form a bony (and rather unsettling) spacesuit. The fun of writing superheroes is showcasing new ways to use their powers, and this book is proof of that.
Secret X-Men #1 unites a team of mix-matched mutants for a covert mission, resulting in one of the most unique X-Men stories I’ve read since the beginning of the Krakoan Age. Fans won’t have to wait to see the members of the Secret X-Men in action again: Sunspot is slated to play a major role in X-Men Red and Tempo’s joined the new Marauders.
Secret X-Men #1 will be available wherever comics are sold on February 9, 2021.
Secret X-Men #1
Secret X-Men #1 unites a team of mix-matched mutants for a covert mission, resulting in one of the most unique X-Men stories I’ve read since the beginning of the Krakoan Age.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.